Category Archives: Housekeeping

Congratulations, Unidentified TN Man! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Although it was our lead item in this week’s Tennessee Gun Report, as several readers have alerted me, the story of the tragedy in Goodlettsville has been updated. And the details of this case are so abso-fucking insane, so monumentally absurd, they literally scream NEGLIGENT GUN OWNER. I simply had to make this unidentified individual our 2nd Amendment Hero.

Drum roll, please:

According to a news release from Goodlettsville Police Chief Gary Goodwin, the boy was watching television with his father and brother in the living room at the Summerfield Place Apartments on Moss Trail. The mother was on the telephone in the kitchen, Goodwin said.

The father always kept a weapon nearby for protection and it was not unusual that the weapon was present, the police chief said. The father was using the laser on the weapon to play with the family’s cat, as the pet would chase the red dot emitted by the laser. As he got up to go to the kitchen, the father forgot to place the weapon out of the children’s reach, Goodwin said.

Turner’s sibling picked up the gun to get the cat to chase the laser. Unfamiliar with how the laser operates, the sibling instead pulled the trigger, fired one round and fatally wounded the 5-year-old, Goodwin said.

Repeat after me: guns are not toys. Guns are not toys. Guns are not toys. Guns are not toys.

This is just the trifecta of gun stupid. Dad “always keeps gun nearby” for protection, because scary people! But then he treats the gun like a cat toy? And then “forgets” and leaves it where the kids can reach it? No. Just … noooo.

This is where I cue the Jim Jeffries gun control video where he tells us the only reason anyone wants a gun is because “I like guns, so fuck off.” Everything else is a bullshit argument. And this is 100% correct. If our dad of the year really needed that gun for security he wouldn’t have treated it like a goddamn cat toy, would he?

Herein lies the gun conundrum. If you DO need a gun constantly at the ready because, I dunno, you’ve got the Mafia hot on your trail or something, then it’s not safe for the kids, is it? If it’s in a safe where the kids can’t get at it, it’s no good for protection. Of course one of those “smart guns” might help in this situation, but the NRA doesn’t want you to have one of those. So, now your son is dead and it’s your fault. Sucks to be you, gun guy.

Our story closes with this:

The Davidson County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case to determine if any charges will be filed against the father.

I actually met Glenn Funk when he was running for DA and asked him, specifically, if he would vigorously prosecute gun negligence cases. Because I was very concerned that one of his biggest donors was rabid Republican moneybags Lee Beaman. Funk dodged the question, so I’m going to be really interested to see what he does with this case. Because I’m pretty tired of hearing how the family “has suffered enough.”

No. You treat a gun like a toy, leave it lying around for your children to play with, and the inevitable happens? You need to go to jail.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Housekeeping

Congratulations, Unidentified AZ Man! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Pro-tip: when you accidentally fire your brand-new gun while you’re showing it off in your apartment it might be a good idea to check to see if everyone is OK next door:


According to the police report, a teenage resident who was home alone in her apartment in the 200 block of West Oakmont Avenue was standing in the hallway when she heard a loud bang and felt something rush past her right leg sometime between 8:30 and 9 p.m. Nov. 6. At first, she said, she thought she had been shot. When she realized she was uninjured, she immediately called her mother and hid in the bathroom for the next 20 minutes.

The teen and her mother had never heard a gunshot before, so they did not know what had happened until this past Monday, when the mother discovered a spent 9 millimeter bullet on the floor underneath a dresser. The bullet appeared to have pierced an interior wall, leaving a tiny hole, and continued through the first layer of side paneling on the dresser before it was stopped by the side of the bottom drawer and fell to the ground.

Officers spoke to the residents of a neighboring apartment. One of the men told police that on Nov. 6, he was showing his roommate the new handgun he had just purchased when he accidentally shot through a door jam and into the wall he shared with the victims’ apartment. The suspect told police he thought there was a cinder block wall between the two apartments that would stop the bullet before it could hurt anyone. He became apologetic when he learned that was not the case.

Awful lot of these guns-shooting-into-neighbors’-apartments incidents. Wondering how long before apartment managers demand a gun deposit for their pants-wetting tenants?

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Housekeeping

Jim Cooper FAIL #2

I’m done with you, buddy. Seriously. You either lied to the Nashville Scene or were utterly clueless about this SAFE Act vote; either way, you don’t belong in Congress anymore.

Okay, Mary Mancini, Chris Moth, Jeff Yarbro … either of you want to move to Washington D.C.? Anyone have any other ideas?



Filed under Congress, Current Events, Housekeeping, immigration, Nashville, Rep. Jim Cooper, Tennessee

Rep. Jim Cooper FAIL


Rep. Jim Cooper, obviously getting angry phone calls from people other than me, explains his vote thusly:

“It’s largely redundant. Republicans don’t want you to know that,” Cooper told The Tennessean in a phone interview Thursday.

Um, actually, no. But before I get to that, let me remind everyone of the Rep. Jim Cooper who made a name for himself by his “mavericky” refusal to go along with politiized, grandstanding legislation. That Jim Cooper would never have voted for something “largely redundant” because, of course, if it’s largely redundant why the fuck are we wasting our time on it? I remember that Jim Cooper, don’t you?

But that’s not what this bill does. This bill requires the FBI director, secretary of Homeland Security and director of National Security to personally certify to 12 different Congressional Committees that each individual refugee does not pose a security threat. It basically gums up an already long and complicated process to the point where applications will be brought to a standstill.


Jim Cooper voted “aye” on the “American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act,” AKA the Let’s-punch-Syrian-and-Iraqi-refugees-because-we’re-scared-and-crapping-our-pants-and-also-we’re-ignorant Act.

One of only 47 Democrats, and thanks for playing, Rep. Cooper. I’m so over you right now. TN-05 is a pretty safe district now, thanks to Republican gerrymandering, so I’d say we’re safe to make a protest vote now, maybe even find someone who’s a more reliable Democrat who isn’t  stuck in the past and thinking being a Blue Dog is still what the kewl kids are doing.

I called his office and asked the guy who answered the phone what the hell  Cooper was thinking. I was told that “the Congressman supports Syrian and Iraqi refugees as long as they’re vetted properly.” Jesus Christ on a Saltine, they’re already vetted, and far more rigorously than the average shmoe coming into our country on a tourist visa. But thanks for buying into the pants-wettng Fright-wing Fox News meme. Super helpful for the rest of us moving forward!

I can just see it now: “even Democrats agree that refugees are a risk!” Or, even better, “even Democrats don’t support Obama!” Why, lookie here, it’s already on the Wall Street Journal:

In a rebuke to President Barack Obama, a substantial contingent of House Democrats voted for a bill the White House had threatened to veto ….

You ignorant ass. Why on earth would a terrorist subject themselves to a two year UN/Dept. of Homeland Security background check (which was improved in 2011 following the 2009 entry of Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, the two individuals Rand Paul has been fearmongering about)? Why do that when getting a tourist visa is so much easier? Hell, what about those “porous borders” desperately in need of a wall the wingnuts are always blathering on about? Wouldn’t that be easier?

Why aren’t we doing something about the fact that anyone on the terror watch list can still buy guns? Legally? Isn’t that important? In fact, the best indication we have that this entire thing is ginned up fear-porn BS designed to help Republican electoral prospects is this:


NRA defends stance on law that allows terror suspects to get firearms

The NRA says it’s just trying to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to buy guns — even if their names appear on a terror watch list.

Hey, Rep. Cooper: why don’t you do something about that? No?

Anyone who tells you that all of this ginned up fearmongering is anything other than political posturing designed to make voters run to Republican Daddy is lying. But thanks, Rep. Cooper, for playing along.


You are completely dead to me.


Filed under fear, Housekeeping, immigration, rants, Rep. Jim Cooper, Tennessee

“Republican” As A Synonym For Coward


Just as I predicted:

Christian groups break with GOP over Syrian refugees

Faith-based groups, who play a key role in resettling refugees to the United States, say they are dismayed by the wave of anti-refugee fervor set off by the Paris terrorist attacks and are urging supporters to contact elected officials on behalf of victims of the Syrian civil war.

Many of you may not know this but Southern Beale works with refugees. It’s been my job for the past two years. So when I hear Tennessee Republicans like Glen Casada say such repulsive things as,

“We need to activate the Tennessee National Guard and stop them from coming in to the state by whatever means we can. I’m not worried about what a bureaucrat in D.C. or an unelected judge thinks. … We need to gather (Syrian refugees) up and politely take them back to the ICE center and say, ‘They’re not coming to Tennessee, they’re yours.'”

… it really makes me want to punch that guy in the face. Really, the amount of ignorance and hate on display in such comments just boggles the mind. It’s like they’re in a race to see who can be the most despicable human being.

My students have told me stories here and there, so I’ve gained a little perspective  about what it’s like to be a refugee. One thing that’s clear is how hard it is to come to the United States; you don’t just get handed a ticket and land in Nashville. There is a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Some of my students have spent years in refugee camps. When they finally do make it through the arduous process, many of them don’t even know where they’re going. One of my students was first sent to Los Angeles, was immediately redirected to Idaho (Idaho!), was there for just two days (two days!), before then being sent on to Nashville. So  I think stories like this one are not unusual, current events notwithstanding.

Republicans are playing to their fearful, nativist, xenophobic base. I don’t for a second think that they believe the crap that they’re spewing. They’re just trying to gin up a response, and fear is their go-to emotion. Keeping people scared is what they do. Last year it was Ebola, this year it’s refugees. Republicans are the “OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIIIIIIE!” party.

What they don’t seem to know is that a large majority of the groups helping refugees navigate these uncertain waters are Christian. Organizations like World Relief, Catholic Charities, and Church World Service are all involved in refugee resettlement. That’s because once upon a time, Christians were interested in more than just abortion and gay marriage. They knew that Leviticus didn’t just have something to say about gay sex, but also about not mistreating foreigners, “for you were foreigners in Egypt.” So as Republicans race to the bottom vilifying people fleeing war in Syria, they’re also pissing off another large contingent of their base.

We’ve seen this all before. It’s an election year, they want to appeal to the lowest common denominator of their base, so they tweak that amygdala,  instead of trying to appeal to the better elements in their party. And come the next post-mortem, Republicans will continue to wonder why they’re perceived as the party that doesn’t care about people. Same as it ever was.

“Republican” is a synonym for coward. Not just because they’re scared shitless of everything — Muslim refugees, Ebola nurses, married gay people, you name it. But because they’re too scared to be anything else.


Filed under conservatives, Current Events, fear, Housekeeping, immigration, rants, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

They Can Shut Up About Religious Freedom Now

Everything you need to know about the conservative views of religious freedom, summed up in one chiron:




Ummm ….. yeaaaaah. Y’all can just shut up now.


Filed under Christian Right, Christianity, FOX NEWS, Housekeeping, Islamophobia, religion

History Repeats Itself

Never change, America. Stay afraid:

After Germany annexed Austria in March 1938 and particularly after the Kristallnacht pogroms of November 9–10, 1938, nations in western Europe and the Americas feared an influx of refugees. About 85,000 Jewish refugees (out of 120,000 Jewish emigrants) reached the United States between March 1938 and September 1939, but this level of immigration was far below the number seeking refuge. In late 1938, 125,000 applicants lined up outside US consulates hoping to obtain 27,000 visas under the existing immigration quota. By June 1939, the number of applicants had increased to over 300,000. Most visa applicants were unsuccessful. At the Evian Conference in July 1938, only the Dominican Republic stated that it was prepared to admit significant numbers of refugees, although Bolivia would admit around 30,000 Jewish immigrants between 1938 and 1941.

In a highly publicized event in May–June 1939, the United States refused to admit over 900 Jewish refugees who had sailed from Hamburg, Germany, on the St. Louis. The St. Louis appeared off the coast of Florida shortly after Cuban authorities cancelled the refugees’ transit visas and denied entry to most of the passengers, who were still waiting to receive visas to enter the United States. Denied permission to land in the United States, the ship was forced to return to Europe. The governments of Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium each agreed to accept some of the passengers as refugees. Of the 908 St. Louis passengers who returned to Europe, 254 (nearly 28 percent) are known to have died in the Holocaust. 288 passengers found refuge in Britain. Of the 620 who returned to the continent, 366 (just over 59 percent) are known to have survived the war.

Tennessee joins the other Republican states saying no to refugees, proving yet again what horrible people they are.

The story of the St. Louis is an especially dark stain on our past. I’ve noticed over the years, as anti-Semitism has waned as a cultural force, that America has whitewashed its past where the Holocaust is concerned. We all love to hear the stories about the Oscar Schindlers and Irena Sendlers, the heroes and heroines. We want to hear the good news. Please don’t tell us about the St. Louis and the Japanese internment camps. But that was America. We turned that boat away. We imprisoned over 100,000 American citizens of Japanese descent after Pearl Harbor. We said, “never again,” but here we go again.

From Twitter:



Filed under Current Events, Housekeeping, immigration

Is it me?

It appears all of my widgets and sidebars that used to be on the right side of the blog have disappeared. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to deal with it this week.

Then again, maybe I’m just having issues with Safari. Let me know what you see.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

UPDATE: as soon as I hit “publish” they reappeared. What fresh hell is this???

UPDATE 2: a very knowledgeable person on the WordPress forums figured out what had happened. We are all good now. Whew!


Filed under Housekeeping

Pardon My Absence

Well, hello! Bet you’ve been wondering if I’ve fallen into a hole or something. Actually, my computer died and I’m posting this via a cellphone, which is torture. Semi-regular posting should resume next week.


Filed under Housekeeping

The Question Must Be Asked

Gotta wonder if we’d all be Charlie if Islam weren’t in the equation. Hard to tell, of course. But we do have recent history to inform us as we ask the question.

Were we all Unitarians when a gay-hating, right-wing crazy shot up a Unitarian Universalist church in East Tennessee? No, we were not.

Were we all Planned Parenthood when an anti-abortion extremist murdered Dr. George Tiller as he handed out programs at his church? No, we were not. (Indeed, Bill O’Reilly, who ginned up much of the hatred of Dr. Tiller with a string of violent hyperoble, claimed any attempt to blame him for the murder was typical liberal propaganda).

So clearly it’s not the violent act which has spawned this outpouring of support.

And don’t tell me it’s all about free speech, either. No one on the right seemed to notice when Gov. Bill Haslam passed this law back in 2011.

I really think there’s a lot of hypocrisy going on in this discussion of the tragic events in Paris. Maybe we’ll get around to talking about that some day, too.


Filed under Housekeeping